Preparation and Test-taking
from a handout by Jane L. McGrath
This handout covers the following information in regard to taking objective tests. Some of the initial information is repeated on the Essay Test and Online Test handouts as it applies to all test formats. Use these jump links to take you to the sections you want to access:
|Assessing Your Test-Taking Skills
Before launching into how to prepare for and take essay tests, it is helpful to get an idea of your test-taking skills. Here are some web sites that help provide this insight.
Exam Check List Evaluate your exam preparation and performance
|Preparing for an Objective
Confidence in most endeavors comes from effective preparation. There is much you can do to ensure that your test performance is the best it can be. Follow these steps to successful objective test preparation and see your grades rise.
chapter/study guide introductions and summaries. The theme and main
ideas provide a necessary framework for the details you are required
text notes and study guide exercises.
information for questions missed, marking it with a different color
headings/main points into questions.
- Recite information out loud. If you cant say it, the information is not
yet stored in memory, so go back and review it, then try again.
charts, diagrams or graphic organizers to enhance memory of key points.
all terms and any general vocabulary of the subject.
the key people, why they are significant, and their contributions to
the field of study.
- Work problems by actually doing themdont just look over samples.
important proofs, diagrams, formulas, cycles, etc.
- Review specific information with a study card system:
a question on the front of a 3 x 5 card.
the answer on the back of the card.
the questions and try to answer them without looking at the
cards with you and review often, such as when you are waiting
for an appointment, standing in line, stuck in traffic, on hold
on the phone.
the cards often to change their order.
off one corner of the cards that contain information learned. The ones with uncut corners signal that you need to review these
- Separating cards into three separate piles is also effective as you can then study accordingly:
- information you have learned
- information that know fairly well but are not sure of
- information you have not learned
Web Sites about How to Prepare Before
Taking an Objective Test
The 5-Day Study Plan You will perform better on an exam if you spend one hour studying each day for 20 days than if you spend 10 hours studying for two days before an exam. (University of North Dakota)
Test Content What's going to be on the test? (Study
Guides and Strategies)
How to Prepare for a Test Mental and practical preparations to test taking and higher grades (Test Preparation and Online Education)
How to Study: Objective Test Sites Here is an excellent site with lots of handouts on testing. Choose ones that think will help you the most. (howtostudy.org)
for Exams Here are 5 sound strategies plus ideas for practice
exams. (University of Illinois at Chicago)
The Ultimate Guide to Test Preparation Strategy This site has a bit of everything in terms of test preparation (Test Preparation and Online Education)
How to Get Better Test Grades Often students ask for advice when they get a lower grade on a test than they hoped for. One professor provides his tips in this blog. (Test Preparation and Online Education)
Pass Exams by Determining Your Learning Style How you learn affects what you learn. Use study strategies that work for you. ( (Test Preparation and Online Education)
Preparation Just about everything you need to know about preparing
for exams (Muskingum College)
Strategies This comprehensive site presents a step-by-step
plan for successful test-taking (Muskingum College)
Studying for Finals (or any test) Words from a prof on youtube (youtube)
|Cramming: A Note of Caution
Before taking a test, most of us feel nervous and worry about remembering all the information we studied predominates our thinking. So cramming may seem the best way to relieve ourselves of this stress. However, the opposite is true and it's important to know why. Below are some web sites with information about the dangers of all-night cramming.
Cramming Be sure to click on the site links to "Emergency Test Preparation" and "10 Tips on Terrific Test-taking." (Study
Guides and Strategies)
of an All-Nighter Read what really happens mentally and
physically when you pull an all-nighter (University
of Texas at Austin)
an Objective Exam
With all of the preparation behind you, here are some test-taking tips that
will help you succeed once you are in the classroom.
all directions. Don't assume that you know what to do.
Budget your time. Don't
end up rushing at the end of the test session.
for help about points that are not clear.
First answer the questions that you know. Afterward,
go back and spend time on the ones you are not sure of. You will feel
more confident, you may find answers to other test questions, and you
will complete more of the test questions.
for absolute or categorical statements in true-false questions.
They are usually false.
the answer that requires the least amount of assumptions. If you say to yourself, "If this were true then....," it probably
is not the correct answer.
that generalizations are usually only partially true.
the "stem" of multiple choice questions and
try to answer them for yourself before you look at the choices. Then
pick the answer closest to yours.
all the possible answers in multiple choice questions
even if you think the first or second choice is correct.
alternatives in multiple choice and matching questions
so you narrow your choice and increase the probability of a correct
at an answer (unless there is a guess penalty) rather
than leave a blankyou might be right! If you have time, go back
at the end and give it further thought. Use scratch paper to mark the
numbers of the questions you were not sure of so you know exactly which
ones to review.
an answer only if you can think of a concrete reason that makes your
first answer wrong. When you "guess," your first answer is
usually the best.
Web Sites about How to
Take an Objective Test
Instructions on a Test Can Trip You Up Make sure you read directions carefully as it only takes one work to send you in the wrong direction (Test Preparation and Online Education)
Taking Objective Tests Short and to the point! (University of North Dakota)
General Test Strategies Brief introduction to what to do before the test and when you enter the testing room (University of North Dakota)
Taking Objective Tests Useful, practical tips! (Brazosport
Test-Taking Great information with examples of how to do it! (California
Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)
Tips for Taking Objective Tests (University of Texas at Austin) PDF file
Eliminating Wrong Answers This short youtube video shows how to narrow down your answers to help find the one that is correct. (youtube)
Working Backwards This second video uses very easy examples to show you another strategy to narrow down your options in a multiple choice math test. (youtube)
to Use with Difficult Exam Questions Here's good advice about what
to do when you get stuck. (Virginia
Polytechnic Institute and State University)
Objective Questions True/False
Tests More tips! (Study Guides and Strategies)
Common Exam Errors Study to counteract these common mistakes (University of North Dakota)
the Exam Review
Taking time to review a returned test will prove extremely valuable. You will discover not only what went well for you but also have the opportunity to learn both missed content and better test-taking skills.
Past Tests Determine your strengths and weaknesses as a test-taker
from your past tests. (Bucks County
Dozen Reasons to Review a Returned Test (Middle
Tennessee State University)
ASC logo to return to Learning Links Contents.
|Information adapted and
used with permission by the author. © Jane L. McGrath
site was created and is maintained by Barbara J. Speidel, SWC Academic
Success Center Coordinator. @ Barbara J. Speidel
|The ASC logo
was created by Andrew C. Rempt.
@ Andrew C. Rempt